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Bringing history to life in an audio-immersive experience on historic Governors Island: Nolan Park.
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161 backers pledged $10,000 to help bring this project to life.
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Those Before Us is an audio immersive dance experience designed for public spaces. Audience participants wear headphones or Bose AR sound glasses and are guided around historic locations through audio-narration, with the freedom and autonomy to switch between distinct narratives across different time periods. These narratives shed light on events in history that actually took place or could have existed in each location. Participants encounter dancers who embody these intimate narrations in and around each location, bringing the experience to life as it is being told. 

The goal of Those Before Us is to create a deeper connection to the history of public spaces through immersive first-person narratives made possible through partnerships, sponsorships, and donations.  

This project is presented as free public programming in partnership with the public space for which it is being created. 

Photo: Mike Esperanza
Photo: Mike Esperanza

For Those Before Us: Nolan Park, we are working with American Indian Community House, who are also in residency on Governors Island this summer to advise and inform our creative process, so we may truthfully and  intentionally honor the history of the island in the stories we are bringing to life.

 Our pilot partnership with Governors Island will serve as a model for partnerships with historic and public spaces in the future.

Photo: Mike Esperanza
Photo: Mike Esperanza

 Blending reality with imagination, Those Before Us asks the audience to decide for themselves -- What does it mean to honor a place, a memory, a story? 

Most of us don’t know the history of the world around us, and we hope to change that for the better by giving people a chance to experience history rather than read about it. If history repeats itself, then we must learn from the past to create a better future. By creating a first-person experience of history, we create an opportunity for embodied learning, leaving a lasting impact on our audiences.

We believe that curiosity is the key to growth and change, and by inciting this curiosity through immersive storytelling, we at Rebis have the opportunity to share information often erased from our buried pasts and stagnant in our history books. By partnering with organizations dedicated to preserving cultural history, we strive to bring honor to the lives and stories lost to history books. Honor is the key to unlocking empathy of the heart. 

Those Before Us transforms communities through empathetic storytelling, connecting with both the heart and the mind of its participants. 

Photo: Mike Esperanza
Photo: Mike Esperanza

Public spaces are a convergence of connection waiting to be tapped into, and Those Before Us acts as a connector between people, spaces, and the history that lives in between.  

This project is developed and executed through a collaboration between writers, dancers, and experience designers. 

  •  Writers research and develop specific narratives which share a similar story structure based on historical events and potential futures of that location. 
Two of our writers, Stephen Chan and Kimberly Dodson
Two of our writers, Stephen Chan and Kimberly Dodson
  •  Dancers develop movement that resonates with both the structure and essence of these narratives, as well as the specifics of the location that they are performing in. 
Photo: Mike Esperanza
Photo: Mike Esperanza
  •  Experience Designers use the written narratives to develop the participant flow and interaction, and they collaborate with the dancers to understand when and how moments move from one to the next.  
Brand and Experience Designer Queenie Wu and Director Jesse Carrey
Brand and Experience Designer Queenie Wu and Director Jesse Carrey
  • In parallel, a sound designer develops an immersive audio environment that creates a vivid world for the participant to explore, as well as a meta-narrative that on-boards, guides, and off-boards each participant within the experience of Those Before Us.

Here's an edited and layered excerpt from director Jesse Carrey's past solo performance of a custom-made Those Before Us for Arts on Site:

KICKSTARTER FUNDRAISER @ ESC Games RSVP Here

  • July 22nd, 2019 [7:00pm-9:00pm]

INVITED PLAYTESTS RSVP Here

  • July 30th-31st, 2019 [2:00pm-5:00pm] 

VIP AND PRESS PERFORMANCES

  • August 1st, 2019 and August 8th 2019 [3:00pm-6:00pm]
  • to request an invitation and Press Kit, please email PR@rebisimmersive.com 

PUBLIC PERFORMANCES RSVP Here

August 2nd, 2019 [6:00pm-8:00pm]

August 3rd, 2019 [6:00pm-8:00pm]

RAIN DATE ONLY August 4th, 2019 [4:00pm-6:00pm]

Thursday, August 8th, 2019 [3:00pm-5:00pm]

August 10th, 2019 [6:00pm-8:00pm]

August 11th, 2019 [4:00pm-6:00pm]

RAIN DATE ONLY August 12th, 2019 [3:30pm-5:30pm]

RSVP AT bitly.com/ThoseBeforeUsNolanPark, and stayed tuned for invites to private performances and an exclusive informal showing and meet and greet with the creators! 

Rebis is an immersive experience design agency dedicated to creating interactive narratives and story worlds in which the audience plays a leading role. 

Learn more about us at www.experiencerebis.com

*This project is developed through Rebis Lab, the experiential studio of Rebis. 501(c)(3) status through Fractured Atlas.

Your donations will go directly to our passionate team of collaborators working tirelessly to bring Those Before Us to life. We will also be able to fund our marketing efforts to bring awareness and excitement to this project, along with limited production costs.

 We have over TWENTY collaborators helping to bring Those Before Us to life! 

Meet some of them below:

Jesse Carrey (Director, Producer, Writer, Voice Actor) is a choreographer, performer, and producer with a love for designing unique and personal experiences that deepen the audience’s sense of empathy. He has performed at and designed experiences for You Are So Lucky as well as In the Basement Theater Company, which premiered its immersive show The Lady in Red Converses with Diablo at Arts@Renaissance. Jesse has also performed in musicals both Off-Broadway and on Broadway tours, including Attack of the Elvis Impersonators, Dirty Dancing, and originating the role of Jim Young in the world premiere musical The Gift of the Magi. Carnegie Mellon BFA Musical Theater. www.jessecarrey.com

Katya Stepanov (Lead Experience Designer, Writer) is a co-founder of Rebis and founder of The Inheritance Project. As an actor, she has performed at Barrington Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, La MaMa, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical, Triad Stage, and is a founding company member of Girl Be Heard! She has taught ensemble techniques at numerous theaters and institutions including Barrington Stage, North Carolina School for the Arts, and the Immersive Design Summit.  As an immersive experience designer, she creates interactive narratives, story-based environments, and game-based team building for artists, nonprofits, and brands. She holds a BFA from CMU School of Drama, where she graduated as an Andrew Carnegie Scholar; trained at the Moscow Art Theater; and is a recipient of the COJECO BluePrint Fellowship. Katya recently worked with Bose AR in her world-premiere immersive production of Inheritance at Wildrence and is excited to help realize Those Before Us. www.katyastepanov.com

Toro Adeyemi (PR Director) is a New York City-based advertising and public relations professional who runs Toro Communications, a boutique marketing and public relations agency with a focus on promoting theatrical productions in New York City.  Founded in 2012 by this Carnegie Mellon University alumna, Toro Communications has helped artist collectives earn coverage from publications including The Huffington Post, Time Out New York, and The New York Times.   Her collaborative leadership style values diversity and inclusion, builds individual capacities, and develops cross-sector solutions.  Toro’s personal mission is to use her experience in media outreach and expertise in project management to collaborate with clients in order to reach their specific goals, and have some fun along the way.  Motto: Let's collaborate! www.toro-communications.com @torocomm

Becca Barrett (Associate Producer) is a New York City-based Musical Theatre Actor from Hawaii by way of London. Favorite roles include: Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd) Queen of the Fairies (Iolanthe), Marie (Most Happy Fella), Jennyanydots (CATS), and Tracy Turnblad (Hairspray). Becca has her BA in Theatre Performance from Wagner College and her MA in Musical Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Daan Bootsma (Dancer) began dancing at the age of 8 in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, at Grapelli Dance Studio. He started out doing street dance and jazz classes then later attended Lucia Marthas Institute for Performing Arts in Amsterdam, where he studied musical theatre, latin/ballroom, show-dance, hiphop, modern, acting and singing. During his studies in Amsterdam, he danced with Samadhi Dance Company and performed in shows for national TV and concert halls. After working with Hollands Showballet for a year, Daan moved to New York City to study at the Ailey School, where he became a scholarship student. He has attended Springboard Danse Montreal in the summer of ‘18 where he performed works by Maxine Doyle and Michael Getman.  

Stephen Carrey-Chan (Lead Writer) is an avid product manager by day and dedicated playwright by night. His latest NY production was with his one-act play “Et Tu, Padre?” at Manhattan Repertory Theatre. Stephen is a playwright resident with Arts Letters & Numbers and The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. Stephen also has choreographed and taught dance in Boston and New York, such as Boston Children’s Theater and Brooklyn-based Breakin Boundaries studio. For more of his work, check out www.stephenchan.me

Kimberly Dodson (Writer) is an actor, singer and dancer currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. Writing has always been a passion and emotional outlet for her, so she’s excited to be apart of this talented writing team. She was last seen in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical on Broadway. She can currently be seen performing in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. 

Mallory Galarza (Dancer) a New Jersey native, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mason Gross School of the Arts and has spent her post graduate time training in contemporary floorwork abroad and throughout the States. Mallory has worked professionally with Shen Wei Dance Arts, LAJAMARTIN, The Movement Playground, Alison Chase/Performance, Summation Dance, and Bryn Cohn + Artists, and has trained at Springboard Dance Montreal, ImpulsTanz Festival, B12, Tanzfabrik Berlin, and VIM VIGOR intensives. 

Ashton Muniz (Dancer, Voice Actor) is an actor, artist, and activist based in New York City. Select recent acting credits include Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music(The Kimmel Center/St. Ann’s Warehouse/Pomegranate Arts), Esai’s Table (Cherry Lane), False Stars (The Pack Theatre), And She Would Stand Like This(The Movement Theatre Company), and Take Care (The Flea). Recently, Ashton has collaborated with various artists and featured in their works at the Art Institue Chicago/Swiss Institute/New Museum/Centre national de la danse (Cally Spooner), Biennial Performa/Lehmann Maupin (Nicholas Hlobo), Friedman Galler (Alexander Kargaltsev), and Pace Gallery (Lilleth Glimcher). Additionally, Ashton has danced for various musicians including A$AP Rocky (Lab Rat-Sotheby’s), Rihanna (MTV VMAs 2016), Gypija Q (Jack Fuller), Josh the Word, Julia Anrather, and Miles Francis. Muñiz was formerly a resident actor at the Flea Theater and received training at Ithaca College, Moscow Arts Theatre School, and Shakespeare & Company.

Kerime Konur (Dancer)

Alex Ryaboy (Sound Design) is passionate about many aspects of music.  He is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and an audio engineer.  He holds a Master’s degree in Music Technology from New York University where he has completed the Tonmeister Honors Track program. As an engineer and producer he records, mixes and masters music for bands as well as solo artists. Additionally, he has worked in several theater productions where he served as an arranger, sound designer, and board operator.  He composes music for film, theater, jingles and other projects.  In addition to his musical background, he has worked at Warner Music Group for over 10 years in Information Technology field, and is knowledgeable in the business and technical aspects of music industry.

Alex Spieth (Writer) is is an actor/writer living in Brooklyn, NY.  She is the writer and creator of Blank My Life.  Alex is an affiliated member with Third Space, Irondale Ensemble, and Tele-Violet.  She tours Jane Doe, a one women show about rape culture in our communities to colleges and universities (recently seen at Hofstra, Duquesne,  University of Omaha, etc.) 

Queenie Wu (Brand Designer) is a second-year Systems Design Engineering student from the University of Waterloo who strictly dresses in primary colours. Hailing all the way from Vancouver, British Columbia, she’s currently a digital product design intern in New York City this summer. Passionate about spreading and soaking up art wherever she goes, she’s excited to bring her experience in brand and UX design to Those Before Us and learning from all the talented folks she’s so lucky to work with.

Michaela Holland (Co-Marketing Director) is an Emmy, Webby, and Sheffield Doc/Fest award-winning immersive storyteller. She is a creative director, producer, and project manager, who combines experimental content with traditional mediums. Her work has been featured by TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and more.   Her previous employment with the Walt Disney Company sparked her interests in building worlds, and her central vision is to find the perfect marriage between the integrity of the narrative and a guest’s interaction with emerging technology.   Michaela’s work has been vital to projects that include but are not limited to: Emmy award-winning VR documentary, Capturing Everest,  Education Above All’s AR Map activation, and TIME's 360° Livestream of the Great American Solar Eclipse, which garnered over 5 million views on Facebook and Youtube.   Her previous project titled FACE TO FACE was a three-act installation that allowed the audience an intimate look at gun injury and human resilience. FACE TO FACE made its world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest  2018 where it was awarded the Alternate Realities: Virtual Reality Award and described by The Guardian as gut-wrenching, visceral, and heart-breaking. 

Karena Phan (Co-Marketing Director)

Mike Esperanza (Photographer) Born in Manila, Philippines and raised in Southern California, Mike Esperanza has established himself as a sought after teacher and choreographer. With a BFA in graphic design from California State University, Fullerton, Mike's approach to visual construction has influenced a unique movement orchestration on stage described as "captivating visuals of impeccable lines and shapes" Jessica Abejar, Broadway World. His works have been commissioned by prestigious universities and dance companies including LA Contemporary Dance Company in Los Angeles, CA and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance in Dallas, TX. In 2005, Mike was awarded the "Dance: Creation for Performance" grant presented by Dance/USA and the Irvine Foundation. Mike has also been a finalist at the Palm Desert Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival taking second place in 2009 and winning the paid engagement award in 2010. In 2011 Mike was part of the "Innerstate" roster presented by ODC Theater and funded by the Irvine Foundation. The program allowed his company, BARE Dance Company, to tour multiple cities in California and present the Lester Horton nominated show Manhatttan. In 2014, Mike received the Steps Repertory Ensemble Commission award at the Reverb Dance Festival and became the recipient of the CUNY Dance Initiative grant creating a new for work, VENOMOUS, for LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. Mike is also an accomplished photographer and film maker. In 2018 he was selected by San Francisco Dance Film Festival and The National Center for Choreography, Akron to collaborate with a director from Los Angeles to make a dance short featuring BARE company members. Mike’s films have been screened in Prague, Chile, Canada, Mexico as well as multiple cities around the country. Mike Currently teaches at Peridance, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center and guest teaches at EDGE Performing Arts. 

Corey Hess (Videographer)

Grace Rao (Voice Actor) Grace lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their plant children. She spends her non acting time teaching Shakespeare to the best middle schoolers in the game. An avid punner she would love to hear your best dad joke. 

Zach Fifer (Voice Actor) Having grown up in Indiana, Zach has spent the last three years living in New York. A graduate of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, Zach spends his time balancing his acting career with his mild obsession with dogs. Recent credits include THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE (Milwaukee Rep), TWELFTH NIGHT (Pioneer Theatre Company), CINDY (Project Y), and IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT... (TheatreHusband/TheatreWife Project). He also can be seen in the horror short LUCY’S TALE, which can be viewed on ALTER’s YouTube channel now!

You will help us make our dream a reality by donating as little or as much as you can to our cause. 

You can also help us by sharing our Kickstarter with your friends, family and all the history buff friends you never had a reason to talk to before! 

Support us by following, tagging, and sharing us on:

instagram - @experiencerebis 

facebook - facebook.com/experiencerebis

twitter - @experiencerebis

RSVP for Those Before Us at bitly.com/ThoseBeforeUsNolanPark

and Subscribe to our Rebis Newsletter!

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge of this project is compensating all the collaborating artists who are dedicating their time, energy, and talent to bring this experience to life. This includes the content creators such as writers, dancers, and experience designers, as well as the production team, including PR and marketing, producers, sound designers, a costume designer, and a core staff to help onboard participants. We are also working with cutting-edge technology to develop this project, and expect that there will be challenges in integrating this tech seamlessly into our experience. However, by working to meet this challenge, we are confident we will create something truly magical.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Personalized Social Media Shout-Out

    Get a personalized shout out on our Instagram Story!

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    Signed Postcard

    In addition to a shout-out on our Instagram Story, you will also receive a signed post-card from the Those Before Us team as a thank you for your donation!

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    Associate Producer Credit + Two FREE Tix

    If you donate $100, you will be listed as an Associate Producer on the project, and receive a big Social Media Shout Out along with a Signed Postcard. On top of this, you will also get to have TWO VIP reservations to any performance on Governor's Island which include a pair of Bose AR Glasses for the experience (limited to 20 per show), as well as an invitation to our private VIP performances on August 1st and 8th. You will also receive personalized invitations to events leading up to the performance, as well as our closing reception on Governor's Island on August 10th.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Personalized Those Before Us Monologue

    Our team will write a personalized, custom Those Before Us Monologue for the location of your choice. You will also be given a VIP Ticket (with Bose AR Glasses) for the performance date of your choice. You will also be given your very own Bose AR Glasses ($200 value!) following the run of Those Before Us.

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    • Associate Producer Credit
    • Free Ticket with Bose Glasses
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    • Your very own Bose AR Glasses ($200 value!)
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Custom Those Before Us Experience

    Our team will design a bespoke Those Before Us experience in the location of your choice, including everything else we have to offer!

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    • Free Ticket with Bose Glasses
    • Signed Postcard
    • Executive Producer Credit
    • Your own custom Those Before Us experience!
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Personal Invitation

    In addition to a personal Social Media Shout Out and a signed Postcard, you will get a link to attend one of our private VIP performances on August 1st or 8th! Bose Glasses not included.

    Includes:
    • Social Media Shout-Out
    • Free Ticket (Bose Glasses not Included)
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    VIP Ticket with Bose AR Glasses

    In addition to a Social Media Shout Out and Signed Postcard, you will also get to reserve a ticket to any performance on Governor's Island with the opportunity to reserve a pair of Bose AR Glasses for the experience (limited to 20 per show). You will also be invited to our private VIP performances on August 1st and 8th.

    Includes:
    • Signed Postcard
    • Social Media Shout-Out
    • Free Ticket with Bose Glasses
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Associate Producer Credit

    If you donate $100, you will be listed as an Associate Producer on the project, receive a Social Media Shout Out, and a Signed Postcard. You will also get to reserve a ticket to any performance on Governor's Island with the opportunity to reserve a pair of Bose AR Glasses for the experience (limited to 20 per show), as well as an invitation to our private VIP performances on August 1st and 8th.

    Includes:
    • Social Media Shout-Out
    • Associate Producer Credit
    • Signed Postcard
    • Free Ticket with Bose Glasses
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 20 backers
    $

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    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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Funding period

- (33 days)